Hungary: concern for the marginalised
With the lockdown regulations due to be further relaxed in Hungary this Monday, the social consequences of the coronavirus crisis are now coming into focus. According to official figures 56,000 people in the country lost their jobs in March, and more than half of its companies suffered a drop in turnover of at least 30 percent. Hungarian media discuss how to help marginalised groups.
A new task for the army
The Hungarian government's idea of countering the rise in unemployment by hiring army personnel is not necessarily a bad one, Azonnali believes:
“In all the major empires since Ancient Rome, the military has also been a means of social mobility. And that goes for smaller countries as well - just on a smaller scale. ... But the devil is in the detail. ... The model would work if the problem was a lack of jobs. But the problem is that those affected are uneducated. ... In peacetime you have to find alternative tasks for the military. Creating opportunities is just such a task. But it would only succeed with large investments.”
Forgotten: the homeless, compulsory workers, Roma
Mérce calls for profound changes in the economy and society:
“In Hungary (and elsewhere) there is hardly any talk about the social groups that have been marginalised because of our economic system. There is virtually no discussion about the consequences of the pandemic and the resulting recession for the homeless, for Hungary's compulsory state workers [who are assigned jobs that pay 160 euros a month in structurally weak regions], for the Roma living in ghettos and for all those who have not benefited from the economic upswing of the past decade. ... The upcoming crisis offers a new opportunity to recognise the deficits of global and local economic and social structures and to create change.”